music · words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Nina Simone

It’s a new dawn/ It’s a new day/ It’s a new life/ For me/ And I’m feeling good – Nina Simone

Happy Friday friends!  I hope that you all have had a stress-free and enjoyable week. I’m looking forward to this weekend, despite  a forecast indicating snow showers to strike in the Mid-Atlantic region. I’m no fan of the cold, but it’ll be nice to stay in and watch the snowfall.

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The Words of Wisdom today will be coming from none other than Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known as the incomparable Nina Simone. Her music, that she described as black classical music, is full of passion, wisdom, pain, and love.

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I first became acquainted with Simone’s music in 2010. I was encouraged to listen to her after an acquaintance noted that I dressed (at that time) similarly to Simone. With my naturally curly-kinky hair, brown skin, and penchant for African inspired fashions, I probably looked a lot  more like Simone than I do currently. I purchased the digital version of The Lady has the Blues to acquaint myself with her work. I found myself drawn into Simone’s incredible piano playing ability, but I stayed for her soulful lyrics.

The album that started my love of Ms. Simone

I researched Simone’s history to learn more about the woman behind these poignant songs. What I learned about her was heartbreaking. Simone was denied admission to the musical program that she dreamed of attending. She had unhappy romantic relationships, which were likely complicated by her own mental health issues (she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder). While critically-acclaimed and publicly loved, she suffered indescribable pain behind closed doors. This pain is what we bear witness to when listening to her music.

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But, despite the painful lyrics, there is a lot of beauty in Simone’s work. More importantly, she left a legacy of activism through her art. She actively sought to achieve her own personal peace while on Earth (which is more than most people can say). Relocating abroad, away from a country that had scarred her with its racism and bigotry, was critical for her self care. She passed while living in France at the age of 70. May she continue to rest in peace. And may we all enjoy her impressive ouevre and learn from her life. The world didn’t deserve Nina Simone, but I’m glad that she lived her life unapologetically and left such an amazing example for us today.

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That’s all for this week loves. I hope that you all have a cozy and comfortable weekend and I will talk to you all on Monday. Take care!

(Photos courtesy of AZ Quotes, For Harriet, Women’s Tea Time, and Pinterest)

music

An Evening with Tamia

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to Charleston to visit with one of my girlfriends and to attend a concert. The artist performing was Tamia, one of my favorites from way, way back.

Tamia’s recent tour was inspirational to me because I know she had been battling health issues over the past several years. Hearing that she was touring and performing again gave me hope that she may be feeling better nowadays. And, from what I saw, it appears that she is doing well and positively THRIVING!

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Tamia’s most recent LP, Passion Like Fire

She sounds fantastic and put on a great show. She performed at The Music Farm, a performing arts venue that was conveniently located in downtown Charleston. The acoustics, the crowd, and the location all worked together to create a perfect evening. I had a great time!

Her newest album, Passion Like Fire, is currently available for purchase. I love her first single, “Leave It Smokin'”. Tamia is looking great and sounding even better. Enjoy this latest single, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Simone de Beauvoir

In light of the crisis surrounding the state of women’s rights in the US, I thought it would be fitting to do a Words of Wisdom post featuring writer, feminist and activist Simone de Beauvoir.

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I came across de Beauvoir when researching some other women writers of the 20th century. I’d heard of her but wasn’t familiar with her work. However, after digging into her background and learning more about her perspective, I was impressed with what I learned and knew she had to have her own post on my blog.

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Simone de Beauvoir’s views on womanhood and the world at large were some of the founding principles of the feminist movement. I loved that she lived her life, on her terms, and left her thoughts for us to ponder down to this day.

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I especially love the thought that “one becomes a woman”. Womanhood is cultivated and I love being one. I love the ritual, the beauty and the beautifully nuanced existence that is womanhood. It’s a pleasure for me, and I love the fact that the womanhood experience is an intentional one.

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That’s all for today. Enjoy your Tuesday, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

(Photos courtesy of AZQuotes, Pinterest, Literary Ladies Guide, and QuoteParrot)

international · music

New Alice Francis Music!

You all recall that last year, I mentioned my love for singer Alice Francis. This vintage-inspired songbird is still a fave, though I hadn’t been checking her YouTube page regularly. I just hadn’t had her on my mind recently.

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Still from Francis’s “Gangsterlove” video

However, I checked out her Youtube a few weeks ago and found she had released several songs in the past few months. My current fave is “Coco Baca Bum Bum”. The Cuban backdrop and vintage fashions are everything! And the song is super-cute, too.

Why don’t you take a listen and let me know what you think? I’ll be back tomorrow!

music · travel

All About Auntie Janet (Jackson)

Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m enjoying a delightful flashback, all the way back to last month. On my birthday, I saw Janet Jackson perform live in Raleigh, NC and I had the time of my life! This concert was part of her State of the World tour, and she did not disappoint!

The event was held at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. The weather was perfect – no rain! – and the staff was professional, courteous and oh-so-helpful. Let me tell you all: Janet has STILL got “IT”! She looked great, she sounded great, and the entire concert experience was excellent.

Janet performed a lot of her hits and she has plenty of them to choose from (she’s been performing for over 30 years!) My favorite song is “Runaway” and yes, she performed it and even did some of the dance moves. I had such a ball singing and dancing along: I’d see her again in a heartbeat.

Oh, you know I made sure to film a bit of the concert for you, too. I added it to my YouTube channel but I’m also linking it here. Enjoy!

 

life curation

Operation Birthday Blowout Was A Success!

I can say, with no doubt in my mind, that my birthday blowout was a success! I got to see Janet Jackson perform, I went to two museums I’ve never visited before, I spent time with friends, I made some new friends, AND I got to try some new restaurants while I was away.

Then, the day after I got home, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and I went to a family reunion. It’s been a very busy past few days! I’ll admit, though, that I’m loving every minute of it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a whirlwind (long) weekend.

I’m still working on a few of my side projects related to this blog and life in general, so I’m going to keep this post short and save my energy. I’ll share a few photos that will be part of future posts in the next few days. Also, I’m still thinking of a special way to commemorate this blog’s 1 year anniversary . . . I have something in mind but I’m open to suggestions! Feel free to let me know how we should celebrate this first year of Bronze Butterfly!

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En route to the wedding

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Brunching in Raleigh

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Seeing my spiritual mother, Janet Jackson

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A visit to Nasher Museum

art · travel

Flashback to Kansas City, Pt. 1 – 18th and Vine

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18th and Bovine by Jeff DeRousse, located near 18th and Vine

When I’m in Raleigh in a few weeks, I’ll be checking out as many art museums, galleries and fine restaurants as I can. But while I’m looking at some of Raleigh’s attractions, I began to reminisce about my first “big” trip away from home.

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Statue of Charlie Parker near 18th and Vine

Nine years ago, I traveled to Kansas City, MO and instantly fell in love. This city reminds me of my hometown but it had a lot of features that I found enchanting. Kansas City has more operating fountains than any city outside of Rome, Italy. I also recall the excellent museums, fun club scene, and rich musical history. I’m going to share some of the pictures from that trip, taken on my (awful) BlackBerry Pearl. Hey, it was the best I could do at the time!

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18th and Vine is an intersection within Kansas City that used to be a hub for Black music and culture. Jazz legend Charlie Parker grew up in this area. While there, I visited the American Jazz Museum, a glorious tribute to the history of jazz music. I was (still am!) a huge fan of Ella Fitzgerald, so this museum was a treat. Unfortunately, the museum didn’t allow photography, so I have no pictures of the exhibits.

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Front of the museum

The museum is in the heart of what used to be the epicenter of vibrant Black creatives. The area used to be thriving and full of shops, bars, and jazz clubs. It was disheartening to hear how the museum is going through financial trials and may temporarily close in order to reorganize.

Artwork near the museum: cutouts made out of mirrored material. Gorgeous to behold, impossible to photograph

This area is magical. You can feel the history all around you. I pray that the museum can turn things around and come back stronger than ever. 

I’ll share more from my Kansas City trip in the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy!